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Goodwill to mark 50th with fashion show gala

By Staff | Apr 21, 2016

Tickets are on sale for an annual awards ceremony and fashion show extravaganza.

Hosted by Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, Fashion Through the Decades will take place May 6 from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs. The gala will be a celebration to commemorate the organization’s 50 years of service in the community.

“Every year for about 45 years, we have held our Breakthrough Awards,” Kristen O’Donnell, spokeswoman for Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida, said on Thursday. “This is our 50th anniversary, so we wanted to make it a little bit bigger and a little bit more special this year.”

The annual ceremony honors those who have gone through Goodwill’s programs and overcome their barriers, as well as serves to recognize businesses and organizations that have supported Goodwill.

O’Donnell explained that in past years, a mini-fashion show has been held during the ceremony. With the anniversary, Goodwill decided to put on a fashion extravaganza spanning the past half-century.

“We also are going to honor the employees who have been with us for more than 20 years,” she said.

Approximately 20 models will be showing off the fashion trends from each decade.

“The majority of them are either employees or our participants from our L.I.F.E. Academy charter school,” O’Donnell said, noting that the academy is for students with intellectual disabilities.

Men, women and children will strut the runway to music from each decade.

Some participants in Goodwill’s adult day training program have formed a glee club. To add to the excitement of the evening, the club will perform for the audience. There will also be a deejay.

“When people think of Goodwill, people don’t typically think of our mission first,” she said. “They think of our stores, which is the main way we support our mission.”

Tickets cost $75 per person and include heavy hors d’oeuvres; there will be a cash bar.

O’Donnell estimated that roughly 200 people attend each year.

“It is a fundraiser,” she said.

Ticket sales will benefit the Southwest Florida Goodwill Foundation, which supports Goodwill’s various programs and activities, the L.I.F.E. Academy and more.

The event usually raises about $10,000 for the foundation.

O’Donnell urged people to pick up their tickets.

“It really is an inspirational evening when people hear the stories,” she said.

“It’s just going to be a great time,” O’Donnell added.

To purchase tickets, visit the website at: www.goodwillswfl.org/goodwillfifty. Those without Internet access can call Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida at (239) 995-2106, ext. 2249.

For more information about Fashion Through the Decades, visit online.

Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa is at 5001 Coconut Road in Bonita Springs.